Tyler Graham -
2012 Kevin Higgins College
Scholarship Grant Recipient
San Diego, CA (December 5, 2012) - Rugby and family have been synonymous for Tyler Graham for just about his entire life. His father, John Graham, began playing rugby in 2003 and Tyler and his brother, Mitch, and mom, Kristin, would go off to watch him play on just about every weekend with the Michiana Rugby Club. John was part of the United States U19 staff that toured England and Tyler and Mitch went along as ball boys for the team. From then on, rugby has been a huge part of his life.
Tyler began playing organized rugby when he was a freshman in high school playing for Indiana powerhouse, Penn High School. Tyler enjoyed both team and individual success while at Penn. His Penn team went to the Nationals three out of Tyler’s four years there, including a second place finish this past season. Penn High School was state finalists all four years Tyler attended and they won the Midwest Tournament two of the four years Tyler played with them.
Tyler was named Man of the Match on several occasions throughout the course of his high school career and was selected as a flanker for the Indiana All-Stars every year in high school. He travelled to Pittsburg the past two years with the Indiana U19s. He was voted Most Improved Player his junior year at Penn and this past season was voted on the Division One Indiana Dream Team.
While Tyler’s talents are obvious, he is a well-grounded young man. “The biggest asset that Tyler has shown me is his respect and manners for others,” said Penn High School Assistant Coach, William Stevens. “Tyler is a very good athlete. What Tyler does not have is the cockiness that goes along with this. He is a very humble young man that shows up, respects others, including his competitor, does his job and learns something from it. Tyler is the first to help others, stay to help clean up or help to educate the younger players.”
Speaking of helping others, Tyler has volunteered at many area events. He helped out at numerous Bittersweet Elementary School functions, including their annual Fun Fair. He is also a frequent volunteer at the Southfield Village Assisted Living Center, spending lots of time with the residents. Tyler also helps build sets for the Battel Community Center Theatre.
Tyler was also busy at Penn High School. He graduated this past spring with a 3.5 GPA and was a member of the National Honor Society. He was also a Student Assistant. He played football and wrestled up to his senior year so he could concentrate on rugby. Tyler participated in dance all four years in high school and was one of Madonna’s Romans that appeared at the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show. He was the youngest of the performers and it was he who helped Madonna from her chariot to the stage.
Tyler now attends Indiana University at Bloomington and his impact has been immediate. “Tyler was a blue chip recruit for Indiana University and has exceeded expectations,” said Indiana head coach Marcus Hurley. “Not only does he have excellent rugby pedigree, but his commitment to our program on the field, in the weight room, and in the classroom is second-to-none.
“Tyler is a fierce competitor on the field and consistently makes his presence felt on opponents and teammates alike. As a freshman, Tyler has started in every match and at one point this season he was among Big Ten Rugby Conference leaders for tries scored. But Tyler's character on the field can more accurately be described as a total team player. Tyler has a knack for being on time and effective at the break down, and is a very fit and fast wing forward. Tyler will undoubtedly be a great player and teammate throughout his time at Indiana University.”
Off the field Tyler is doing well too. He is focusing his academic career on medicine, following in his father’s footsteps in that field as well. “I want to become a spinal surgeon and help those in need or with disabilities. My hope is to continue playing rugby throughout college and med school where I can play on a men’s team until I become too old to walk. Rugby is my life and my great passion.”
Congratulations Tyler on being named a 2012 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship recipient.
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